Over the past month Novartis closed an important manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska in response to consumer complaints it has received regarding a number of its leading human consumer medications. The FDA issued a highly critical report of that plant (see here) after an inspection in June of last year. On January 8th, Novartis announced in a press release that it was voluntarily recalling a number of its leading human products produced at the plant including Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin and Gas-X while it strengthens quality standards. On January 5th, Novartis sent a letter to veterinarians informing them that it was suspending production and shipments of the following Novartis Animal Health (NAH) brands including Interceptor Flavor Tabs, Sentinel Flavor Tabs, Clomicalm, Program Tablets and Suspension, and Milbemite. The letter also noted that production of Deramaxx which was just recently moved to the Lincoln plant will also be affected although the company will continue to ship that product from existing inventory.
The production suspension is leaving pet owners looking for these products subject to the inventory on hand with their local veterinarian and with discount suppliers such as VetDepot.com As those supplies are exhausted, veterinarians will be obligated to prescribe competing substitutes such as Heartgard, Trifexis, Advantage Multi, and Rimadyl. After learning about the situation, some consumers are asking for alternatives even when stocks are on hand. Novartis has not given an indication of when production might resume however they have stated that the recent actions were coordinated with the involvement of health authorities. With the FDA’s involvement, there is the possibility that the closure could be lengthy if it reaches the level of problems recently experienced at facilities owned by Johnson & Johnson, Genzyme, and Hospira.